Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Governor Quinn Launches Illinois Heart Rescue to Save Lives PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Erin Wilson   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 11:50

$2.5 million grant helps Illinois become seventh HeartRescue state

CHICAGO – August 22, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn and the University of Illinois Hospital Health Sciences System today launched Illinois Heart Rescue, a statewide all-volunteer effort to more than double survival from sudden cardiac arrests. The Medtronic Foundation provided a $2.5 million grant to the University of Illinois Hospital to coordinate Illinois Heart Rescue. Governor Quinn recently signed a new law to increase CPR training.

"Learning CPR is something simple we can all do to help save lives, whether you're on the field, in the classroom or at home," Governor Quinn said. “Illinois Heart Rescue will educate the public about heart health and help give those experiencing cardiac arrest a greater chance of survival."

Illinois Heart Rescue's community initiative will aim to improve bystander CPR in Illinois through free instruction. The effort is designed to more than double survival from sudden cardiac arrests by strengthening three key links in the chain of survival: bystander CPR, pre-hospital resuscitation by EMS, and post-arrest care through hospital interventions. In the first moments, a knowledgeable bystander who can begin CPR can save a life. At today’s event, bystander-performed, chest-compression-only CPR was demonstrated.

The program’s all-volunteer leadership team represents an unusually broad collaboration among physicians, health professionals, community organizations, hospitals, EMS systems, fire departments and governmental agencies across the state.

Evidenced-based best practices for pre-hospital care will be taught to 911 dispatchers, EMTs, firefighters, and paramedics in simulator training at the Chicago Fire Academy Simulation Center and later at simulation centers in Peoria and Evanston. The Illinois Heart Rescue team will use social media, multi-lingual and culturally-sensitive messaging, athletic events and community health fairs to reach the diverse population of Illinois.

Leaders in the initiative include the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago EMS System, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation Education Service (CCARES) and the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. Other grant partners include the American Heart Association, the Chicago Cubs, the American Red Cross, the Chicago Department of Public Health and many community organizations that include local health clinic systems and neighborhood groups.

Governor Quinn signed House Bill 5114 earlier this summer, which allows middle school students to learn CPR and AED skills in the classroom. In 2011, he also signed legislation providing legal protection to good Samaritans who performed CPS in an emergency, which will encourage citizens to use this critical skill to save a life.


"In sudden cardiac arrest, a few seconds of time can make a lifetime of difference," said Dr. Terry Vanden Hoek, professor and chair of emergency medicine at the University of Illinois Hospital, who will lead the project. "The unprecedented collaboration from so many Illinois institutions along with the opportunity Medtronic Foundation has provided us will allow us to help the people of Illinois and serve as a model for other states."

"Currently, one of the missing links in the 'chain of survival' is data," said Dr. Joseph Weber, Chicago EMS director, emergency-medicine physician at Stroger Cook County Hospital and assistant professor at Rush Medical College.  "This grant will allow us to quantify cardiac-arrest survival across the state. We can then use this data to direct quality improvement initiatives and track progress on our ultimate goal of improving cardiac arrest survival in Illinois.”

"We will bring the science of cardiac-arrest resuscitation to the streets through simulation training," said Dr. Eric Beck, EMS Medical Director for Chicago and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "Simple things like high quality, uninterrupted chest compressions and limiting patient movement during cardiac arrest have been shown to dramatically improve survival."

"If you see someone collapse, the message is simple: Call 911. Start doing chest compressions, 100 beats per minute and two inches deep. Call for someone to bring an AED and use it. These actions alone can save someone's life," said Dr. Amer Aldeen, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University, co-director of CCARES and Illinois Heart Rescue community liaison. "We plan to spread the message of bystander CPR and AEDs throughout Illinois, especially in our relatively underserved urban and rural areas."

"We are especially pleased to partner with Illinois Heart Rescue in this important initiative to eliminate disparities in sudden cardiac arrest and to improve cardiac arrest outcomes in our state, particularly in Chicago and underserved rural areas of the state," said Dr. Derek J. Robinson, executive director, Illinois Hospital Association's Quality Care Institute.  Almost 30 hospitals throughout Illinois will collaborate initially to collect outcome data and champion state-of-the-art care for patients post-resuscitation.


Iowa’s Healthiest State Walk Set for October 3 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Friday, 24 August 2012 11:58

- Goals: Continue momentum, build on successful 2011 event -

DES MOINES, Iowa – August 22, 2012 – Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds called on fellow Iowans to join in a one-kilometer Healthiest State Walk on Wednesday, October 3, as one part of an effort to become the healthiest state in the nation.

“Iowans turned out in extraordinary numbers for last year’s kick-off of the five-year Healthiest State Initiative,” Branstad said. “We’re encouraging even more Iowans to join in this symbolic event and to enjoy a short stroll during our state’s beautiful autumn weather.”

More than 291,000 Iowans participated in the Healthiest State Initiative’s “Start Somewhere” walk in 2011. Many organized Healthiest State walks will be held at noon on October 3, but walks are encouraged throughout the day. A kilometer is about 7.5 city blocks, a 12-minute stroll for the average walker. Walkers can sign up for the event at

In addition to walking, Branstad and Reynolds are encouraging Iowans to add one more wellness activity to their day on October 3. “Wellness activities can take many forms – from playing outside with your children to eating a healthy meal together as a family to volunteering in your community,” Reynolds said. “We’d love to see even more Iowans walk this year – and more Iowans take wellness steps beyond the walk.”

Branstad and Reynolds last year announced the plan to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation within five years as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®. In 2011, Iowa ranked 16th compared to all other states, moving up from the 19th position in 2010.

Branstad and Reynolds noted that the Healthiest State Initiative made good strides in its first year. Along with the large numbers of “Start Somewhere” walkers, 84 Iowa communities indicated an interest in becoming Blue Zones ProjectTM demonstration sites and the first four were announced in May. Six additional demonstration sites will be selected and a new program designed for small communities also has been created. The Initiative also helped shine a spotlight on the state’s well-being challenge, highlighted existing programs and developed new programs such as a healthy restaurant entrée pilot program and Laugh Out Loud Day. Recently, the Initiative sponsored the opening ceremonies at the Iowa State Fair and co-sponsored a mobile application to help find healthy food options at the Fair.

“The intent of the Healthiest State Walk is to encourage Iowans to take their own steps that will help us improve our state’s well-being rank,” Branstad said. ”The Healthiest State Initiative this year will continue to champion existing well-being programs with special emphasis on encouraging local walk groups, workplace well-being, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and smoking cessation. Progress in these areas will translate to a healthier Iowa and better quality of life for all its residents.”

The Healthiest State Initiative is a privately led, public effort that engages Iowans and their communities throughout the state. It involves individuals, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, not-for-profits and the public sector in a broad-based community-focused effort. For more information, visit

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Governor Quinn Signs Law to Keep Children Healthy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ryan C. Woods   
Friday, 24 August 2012 11:46

Law to Increase Access to Vaccines as Kids Head Back to School

CHICAGO – August 21, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today continued his commitment to improving the health and wellness of Illinois children by signing a new law that will make it easier for them to receive flu shots and other preventative vaccines. With the start of the new school year quickly approaching and cases of whooping coughing increasing across Illinois, the governor visited pharmacies in Chicago, Rockford, Milan and Peoria to let parents know about their new options.

“We are blessed with modern medicines that can prevent illnesses, but we must make sure children have access to them,” Governor Quinn said. “This new law means more children will be getting vaccinated, which means healthier children, healthier families and fewer days away from school."

Senate Bill 3513, sponsored by Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) and Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago), allows pharmacists to administer influenza and TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) vaccines to children ages 10 to 13, with a valid prescription from a licensed physician. Previous law had allowed children only as young as 14 to receive these shots from pharmacists. With nearly 630,000 more children getting vaccinated, outbreaks of influenza and other diseases will be less widespread. The law takes effect immediately.

“Thanks to this legislation, families with younger children will no longer have to seek out and travel to medical facilities that may be far away. Now, they’ll have the convenient option of going to any of their local pharmacies that offer these shots,” said Sen. Martinez.

Governor Quinn was joined in encouraging parents across Illinois to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible by local leaders, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and pharmacists at Walgreens, CVS, Target and Kroger, which are among the many Illinois retail stores that offer vaccinations for children and adults.

“We’re proud to join Governor Quinn in helping to provide greater access to immunizations for families and neighborhood communities throughout Illinois,” said Mark Wagner, president of operations and community management, Walgreens. “Our pharmacists have played an integral role in improving immunization rates for flu and other diseases, and with today’s legislation, Walgreens pharmacists will serve as an even more valuable health care and immunizations resource in helping people get, stay and live well.”

“Expanding access to vaccinations is critical especially for children, and the collaboration between the retail pharmacy and medical community to make vaccinations more readily available is an example of sound public policy,” said David Vite, President/CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “Allowing parents to get their children vaccinated at the local pharmacy gives them a quick, easy and inexpensive way to meet the changing vaccination needs of the public schools, and we should thank Governor Quinn and the legislature for making access much easier for busy families.”

As part of August being National Immunization Awareness Month, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reminding parents and health care providers that all sixth and ninth graders are now required to show proof of having received the TDAP vaccine before being allowed to attend school. The shot includes protection against pertussis (commonly known as whooping cough) which has been on the rise in Illinois. In 2011, health care providers reported 1,509 pertussis cases to IDPH for the entire year. With five months still to go in 2012, providers have already reported more than 1,300 cases of pertussis.

“The single most important thing parents can do to protect their children against whooping cough and other preventable diseases is to receive a vaccination,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.

For more information about vaccinations, please contact the Illinois Department of Public Health at 217-782-4977 or online at


Information for older drivers is newest topic on NIHSeniorHealth site PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Stephanie Dailey, NIA   
Friday, 24 August 2012 11:41
Site offers information on age-related health changes, safety tips and driving adjustments
The National Institutes of Health today unveiled a new online resource for older drivers and families seeking information on an often sensitive topic: Is it still safe to drive? Developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Older Drivers topic offers up-to-date information on how aging may affect driving, including physical changes, safety issues and ways older drivers can cope when driving skills change. The new topic is available at
“Driving is a complex task, requiring good vision and hearing, accurate speed-distance judgments and quick reaction times, among other skills,” says NIA director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “Age-related changes affecting some of these skills can make certain driving tasks especially hard for older drivers, which is why this new web resource is so important.”
Age-related changes vary widely from one person to the next, and some people can continue to drive much longer than others. Still, for many older adults, making left turns, changing lanes and navigating through intersections can be challenging, and driving errors made during these times can lead to crashes, often with serious consequences.
"No matter how experienced the driver, getting older can limit an individual's reaction time in emergency situations. That's why it makes sense for older drivers to sharpen their skills and learn ways to help adjust for age-related changes in vision, hearing and response time,” said David L. Strickland, NHTSA administrator. “Taking the necessary precautions to avoid potentially hazardous situations is one way older drivers can keep their independence—and drive safely while doing it."
The new Older Drivers topic serves as an important online resource, with safety tips, recommendations about preferred travel lanes, braking and left turns. It also offers suggestions for adjusting driving habits when there are changes in hearing, vision and reaction times. Information about refresher courses, vehicle safety, regulations that affect older drivers and alternative means of transportation is also provided.
NIHSeniorHealth is a premier health and wellness website designed especially for older adults by NIA and the National Library of Medicine (NLM). In addition to information on driving, the site provides a comprehensive collection of research-based health information aimed at older adults that includes exercise and physical activity, safe use of medicines and management of diseases such as stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's.
NIHSeniorHealth also has senior-friendly features such as large print and opened-captioned videos to make the information on the site easy to see, understand and navigate. Recently redesigned for today’s older adults, who have some experience using the Internet to search for health information, NIHSeniorHealth now features a search function that offers users easier access to senior-related health information on this and other government websites.
NIA leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The institute’s broad scientific program seeks to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. For more information on research, aging and health, go to
NLM is the world's largest library of the health sciences and collects, organizes and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals and the public. For more information, visit the website at
NHTSA, under the U.S. Department of Transportation, is dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety. NHTSA’s mission is to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity. For more information About NHTSA, visit
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit
NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®

Healthy From the Ground Up PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Cassandra Furlong   
Friday, 24 August 2012 11:40

Do you know what is the second leading cause of lung cancer?  I didn’t, until I started to learn about Radon.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking and almost 400 Iowans a year die from radon induced lung cancer. What’s more is that seven out of 10 Iowa homes have dangerous radon levels. Radon is a gas that occurs naturally in the soil underground that can get in to buildings.  You may be breathing this in every day without even knowing it.

It’s also in our children’s schools. Iowa is ground zero for this deadly, odorless, invisible gas, yet we have almost no radon prevention and mitigation (safely venting the radon out of a building) legislation at all.

Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear from a radon cancer survivor, learn about radon in schools, and find out how you can help us get important, lifesaving radon legislation passed.

For now, I encourage you to learn more about radon in Iowa.

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